After our extensive meeting with Anne-Marie and Jo-An, we wanted to take a ride out to get some lunch and clear our heads: we had covered absolutely everything in the three-hour meeting, and it was time for a break to let it all sink in.
We decided to drive into town to eat at one of the restaurants we’d listed in our program—the Bull’s Head Inn, housed in a building dating back to the 1800s that claimed to have a ghost or two.
The ride from Howe to town, whether you choose Route 7 or a back road, is scenic even on a gray day.
When we arrived at the Bull’s Head Inn, however, we were dismayed to find it shuttered with a “For Sale” sign out front.
In search of somewhere else to eat (and hoping we’d encounter a local who would tell us what had happened), we found B.W. Delaney’s Restaurant up at the Best Western. We suspected The Bull’s Head Inn had closed due to damage sustained during last year’s storms, but our waitress told us the closure hadn’t been related.
She did tell us, however, about people that had left the area for good after rebuilding once only to have Irene destroy everything again; about a nearby town that wasn’t going to be rebuilt at all; about the bank at the bottom of the hill having to hang money on a clothesline to dry; about area residents having to live for months at the Best Western in which we were sitting.
This article and video dated February 27, 2012, sheds a bit more light on the area’s devastation: http://berkshires.ynn.com/content/top_stories/575162/recovery-continues-as-new-homeowners–businesses-move-into-schoharie/?ap=1&MP4
We knew the area had been devastated by last summer’s flooding as well as Hurricane Irene—there was some news coverage, and the editor of my book Bad Apple lives up that way and I’d heard the horror stories from her (she was cut off for a few days)—but we had no idea how awful the situation was—and still is. On our way back to Howe, we drove through town and were shocked to see some buildings on the quaintMain Street vacant, with water lines halfway up their facades.
What was more shocking was the wrong turn we took on the way back: we ended up in a small river-side neighborhood that looked as though the Hurricane had blown through, literally, the day before. Lawns were littered with scrap wood, broken couches, and other furniture. One house was completely boarded up. Another had a large sectioned bay window in which only half the panes weren’t broken. Propped on its inner ledge was a painting of a toothed wave smashing into a house.
I didn’t take photos of anyone’s private property—it was not appropriate or necessary. However, the bridge at the end of the street was still gone, and I didn’t feel uncomfortable getting a photo of that.
We discussed this on our way back to Howe and were now especially glad that we were going to bring some tourist dollars to the area. If you are coming to our wedding, we encourage you to patronize an area business and help keep hope alive.